In this article you will discover a simple yet effective…
Speed Light Photography Portrait Lighting Set Up.
This portrait lighting set up will work with any speed light and with various different modifiers as long as you get the position and placement right you should be able to achieve similar results.
I have also included a behind the scenes video on this page for you to get a better visual idea of the proper placement of the main modifier and an overview of the gear in action.
The gear used for these images is the Cactus RF-60 speed light which is fairly affordable and I am also using the Cactus V6 trigger to control the settings of the speed light from my camera position. You can also use a Yongnuo, Nikon Speed Light or a Canon Speed Light and get pretty much the same result, regardless of the flash you use.
The speed light modifier is the Westcott 32 Rapid Box Duo which comes with two layers of diffusion for a softer more diffused look.
The Westcott Rapid Box Duo also allows you to mount up to 2 camera flashes for more power or for a faster recycle time with both speed lights on half power. In this video tutorial I am only using one flash but it is nice to have the option of mounting up to 2 speed lights if you need the extra power on location on a sunny day.
This is a flattering speed light photography portrait lighting set up for women and especially if you only have only one strobe to work with.
The reflector I am using is a Westcott 5 and 1 reflector and I am using the white side of the reflector for softer fill in the clam shell lighting configuration. If you don’t have an assistant you can get an optional reflector stand or try to prop it up on something close to the appropriate height.
Start off with the your modifier in the butterfly lighting position and adjust the position until you get the catch lights between the 12 O’clock and 3 O’clock position in your subjects eyes.
Here’s another photo from the shoot shot on the Canon 135 F2 at F2.8. Although this article is about lighting you are always going to get better results with a Make up artist and a hair stylist.
Also be conscious of the position of the shadows and make little adjustments at a time until you get the results you are looking for.
If you would like a more step by step lighting tutorial you should check out my interactive video training site Image Classroom
At the time of this article I have over 90 step by step in-depth video tutorials on retouching and lighting.
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Alright, back to the set up, as far as the F stop you choose to shoot at, that is entirely up to the look you are going for. I usually shoot portraits anywhere from F 1.8 to F 8 depending on how much depth of field I would like to have in my shot…
Now let’s talk about the size of the modifier in relation to the distance of the modifier from your subject… For an ideal speed light photography portrait lighting set up.
The closer you place your modifier to your subject the softer your light will appear also the size of your modifier has a role to play as well. You’ll find just getting your speed light off of your camera and modified to 32 inches in diameter will give you much softer and flattering results than a bare flash.
The Westcott Rapid Box Duo also gives you more control than what you would get with an umbrella and you can also purchase an optional egg crate grid for more control.
When you are initially setting up your shot place close attention to how much fill you are getting from the reflector and adjust the position of it as required.
You can also use a second strobe for this set up instead of a reflector if you have one. As a starting point set your second fill flash to 1.5 or 2 stops lower than your main modifier and check to see if you are getting enough fill.
These is a time tested lighting configuration referred to as a clam shell lighting set up because of the shape if the modifiers.
I have included an extended version of the video with more behind the scenes video clips with the crew from the shoot.
If you have any questions you can ask them in the comment box below.
You may also want to Check out my Portrait Lighting and Retouching Course Click Here
Well there you have it, Speed Light Photography Portrait Lighting Set Up that you can use with pretty good results for female portrait shoots.